In No. 10 Indiana’s home opener against DePaul University, the Hoosiers dominated the Blue Devils in an eventful 2-0 win.
Indiana pressed DePaul from the opening kickoff, exploring the right wing with junior forward Samuel Sarver. From an individual play on the left, Sarver found freshman forward Collins Oduro, whose shot was saved by DePaul’s junior goalkeeper Gandhi Cruz.
With eighteen minutes played in the first half, Oduro had another chance stopped by Cruz, who gave a dangerous rebound, but Indiana’s sophomore midfielder Jack Wagoner couldn’t put it in. A minute later, Sarver’s header hit the post after a cross from Oduro.
The Hoosiers created several opportunities from the wings but weren’t able to convert them, oftentimes because of a lack of accuracy. A few minutes later, junior midfielder Patrick McDonald received a low cross from Sarver and fired a shot from the penalty mark over the goal.
“Those chances you don’t need a goal scorer, you just need someone to use the right club and put it home,” head coach Todd Yeagley said after the game. “So, I think we have enough guys that can score goals, but I’d rather have three, four, five guys that can score in pretty good clip than one.”
Indiana kept pushing but ended up going into halftime frustrated with a 0-0 score and missed opportunities.
Just 10 minutes into the second half, DePaul fired its first – and only – shot on goal, but Indiana kept its composure and dominance. A few minutes later Oduro took a shot from the edge of the 16-yard box that generated a rebound, but senior forward Maouloune Goumballe sent it high over the crossbar.
With 22 minutes remaining, Sarver crossed the ball to a wide-open Oduro who then headed it into the back of the net to break the tie.
“I told them ‘When I get the ball, someone just stay back post because I promise I’ll beat the kid, you’re just going to tap it in’ and, luckily, Collins took my orders,” Sarver said.
With the weight lifted off their shoulders, the Hoosiers were able to create a few chances with some fresh legs off the bench. Senior forward Karsen Henderlong’s one-on-one shot was saved by Cruz, but sophomore forward Luka Bezerra followed the missed shot with one from distance that went just wide.
Still, Indiana kept the pace, and with 13 minutes left in the season opener, senior midfielder Quinten Helmer scored a screamer from outside the 16-yard box.
“I saw the goalie too far out of his goal, and the field feels so good tonight, so I was like ‘I have to make sure to hit this one’ and, luckily, it went in,” Helmer said.
With a few minutes left, DePaul's sophomore forward Felipe Corral received his second yellow card after a foul on Indiana’s senior defender Hugo Bacharach and was then sent off. The Hoosiers controlled the match, just waiting for the final whistle after the red card.
Now, Indiana looks ahead to a matchup against No. 23 University of Washington on Friday. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Bill Armstrong Stadium and is the second of three consecutive home games for Indiana.
“Friday is a game you want to come to,” Yeagley said after Tuesday’s victory.